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Inaugural Great Northern Viking Festival showcases viking connection, fishery


Viking costume contest will be expanded for 2020 event

GREAT NORTHERN PENINSULA, N.L. — The Great Northern Peninsula Viking Festival bookended the tourism season on the tip of the Northern Peninsula for the first time this past week.

From Oct. 3-6, an assortment of events were held in L'Anse aux Meadows, St. Lunaire-Griquet, Quirpon and Straitsview, foregrounding the region's connection to the Vikings and centering the fishery and traditional Newfoundland foods.

Wendy Nuttall conceived the event as a celebration to mark the end of the tourist season on the tip of the peninsula.

She organized the festival with various partners throughout the region.

Nuttall called the movie night at the L'Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site one of the highlights, and was grateful for the "volunteer Vikings" who showed up to a number of events.

On Saturday, an inshore fishing demonstration was planned.

Nuttall called it the biggest challenge of the whole festival due to her lack of experience with licensing and gear.

Nuttall, who hails from Saskatchewan, was grateful for the support she received.

"There are so many people from Newfoundland, Saskatchewan and Alberta who gave of their time, their thoughts, encouragement, financial support, donations," she told The Northern Pen.

She credits Viking Nest B&B, Ford Blake, and Thelma Hedderson as three big supporters of the festival.

This likely won't be the last the Northern Peninsula sees of the event.

Nuttall is already planning to organize the second annual festival, scheduled for Thanksgiving weekend, Oct. 10-12 in 2020.

She intends to expand the viking costume contest next year, creating more categories for contestants and offering more chances for participants to win prizes and cash.

The inshore fishing demonstration will also have a sequel and she says teams of three people per each boat will be invited.

She also hopes to be able to create more partnerships and involve more communities — such as St. Anthony, next year.

stephen.roberts@northernpen.ca

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